Less than two years after making her pro wrestling debut, Sadie Gibbs was taking part in AEW's Casino Battle Royale at the inaugural All Out pay-per-view. It was a meteoric rise to wrestle for a major promotion after Gibbs spent the first part of her career wrestling in Europe and Japan.
"So I went to Japan, and obviously, I had to come back early. My granddad passed at that time, so I came back early. And something was said on Twitter, which caused a lot of exposure in terms of both sides," said Gibbs. "It got to a point where I don't react to things easily, especially online to anyone that's hating or doing whatever. For me, it's just doesn't concern me; I'm not bothered. But when it came to what I had gone through with losing the first person in my family and it was a sensitive subject, I just responded gracefully in my opinion with integrity and all those things.
"It just went viral, and from that, The Young Bucks commented under the post, and then I had an email saying, 'We'd like to sign you'. So many ups. It was intense coming back from Japan dealing with grief and everything, and then, getting signed. In all honesty, it's been a crazy two years."
Gibbs is a native of England, but she was ready to make the commitment to move full-time to the US when AEW signed her. She was asked what her initial plans were when AEW brought her into the fold.
"So, I was going to move to Atlanta, which is where the main school is now, The Nightmare Factory, and yeah, be training there as well. Just being around more and to be implemented more into things, because when you live all the way in the UK, flying over-- I just wanted to give it 100 percent and just dedicate to the promotion for the duration of my contract," stated Gibbs. "And yeah, obviously things changed, but that was the plan. That was where my mindset was at. I'm going to dedicate 100 percent and give it my all and see how things go from there, really."
After making her AEW debut at All Out in August 2019, Gibbs was signed to a contract with the promotion. However, it was short-lived, as she only competed in two AEW Dark matches while still living overseas. She discussed how AEW handled her living in the UK but needed her to come to the States for appearances.
"Yeah, before the move decision, I was being flown in for the shows. And then, during that time, I had two main matches. So, it's a little bit disappointing," admitted Gibbs. "But yeah, because I was having matches every week before I got signed, once I was in Japan and then when I got signed, it's two matches with [AEW]. So, it was nothing because I didn't get to showcase my skills."
Due to COVID hitting and there being travel restrictions, many of the UK AEW stars were released in August. Gibbs was among those cuts, and she remembered what she was thinking when COVID first hit.
"I heard the lockdown was happening but I didn't think it would be before I flew. I thought I'd be fine to be honest, and then, in my opinion, when it happened, I thought, 'it's okay, it would be two or three months added on to not going.' And then, obviously, it got worse and worse, and then, come August, they've let three of us go from the UK," said Gibbs.
"They kept a couple from the UK; I've noticed though. I noticed there's Anthony Ogogo, he is still with them as well. It's bittersweet, really. It's not a hard one to swallow, but I guess they had to cut their costs and everything. If they can't use us, the situation is what it is. Well, we probably won't be able to fly over there until March next year, I think, with the states. Even that's probably the earliest."
Gibbs was released along with Bea Priestley and Jimmy Havoc, and she revealed that news to her fans through social media. She was asked how AEW handled her release.
"It was really nicely done. It wasn't said in any way; it wasn't about talent or anything like that. It was about-- because, obviously, they wouldn't sign me if they thought that. But it was purely based on the uncertainty of being able to get to the states and that was the reason," stated Gibbs. "They just said to reach out when it's all settled and the world's normal, which can't any of us see that normality yet."
Gibbs was then asked to project a bit and describe what her career would have been like if COVID didn't hit, leading to her AEW release.
"I think I would have been doing really well now... if I was moved down there and training all the time. You know how I am with my training. So, I probably would have been living in The Nightmare Factory, in the gym side and the ring, and yeah, having, I guess, a lot of more opportunities with them. So, that was the plan," said Gibbs. "Yeah, I couldn't say really. It's hard to think. I should assume I would have been a lot more involved in the company now because I was slowly getting there with it. We've been out there more, and when I decided to move, I started to feel like I was getting to know everyone. Then, all of a sudden-- but, it is what it is."
Gibbs' work in Japan and with World Wonder Ring Stardom helped land her a contract with AEW. Now that AEW is in the rearview mirror, for now, she was asked if she would go back to wrestling in Japan.
"I wouldn't go back to Stardom. I know it's a great promotion; I loved it. I love wrestling, but in terms of professionalism and their humanity in terms of grievance when I said that my grandfather passed, I was broken," revealed Gibbs. "I was sitting there watching whales. I know this sounds funny, but two days ago, I lost my granddad, and then we're going to a theme park to watch whales jump around. [It was] the last thing I want to be doing, and I just bawled out in tears. But I remember that day, and when it actually took a lot for me to go tell the promoter that 'I've got to go home. I can't be here anymore.' And he tapped my leg and he said, 'No, no, you stay. Business', and I just thought, you know, in political ways, I was going to get s--t on for going home. And I always do right by me anyway.
"If a career makes you feel like that, leave it in my opinion, and that, for me, was-- I booked, I changed my flight myself, and I went [home]. I would have loved to say goodbye and done it the right way to all the girls and be respectful because I know their culture and everything is about respect, and it's an amazing culture. But, for me, that wasn't respectful to me or my family, and yeah, it's a hard time."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Chris Van Vliet Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.